The Ethical Biotech

With ImClone Systems' chief executive Sam Waksal under indictment for insider trading and fraud, the black cloud over corporate business ethics that first rose over Enron now hovers above the biotech industry. While Waksal may be an outlier, the problems at ImClone have prompted the industry to once again examine ethical standards. Perhaps more than any other industry, biotech is experienced in dealing with ethical issues, with managers constantly embroiled in hot-button debates over stem cell

Susan Warner
Sep 15, 2002

With ImClone Systems' chief executive Sam Waksal under indictment for insider trading and fraud, the black cloud over corporate business ethics that first rose over Enron now hovers above the biotech industry. While Waksal may be an outlier, the problems at ImClone have prompted the industry to once again examine ethical standards. Perhaps more than any other industry, biotech is experienced in dealing with ethical issues, with managers constantly embroiled in hot-button debates over stem cell research, cloning, and patenting DNA.

Now, biotech companies are focusing on ethical issues not just in the lab, but also in the corporate suite. "Biotech companies are going to face the same kind of business ethics as everyone else, but on top of it they have all the other issues in doing cutting-edge work in poorly understood technology and in the face of mercurial public opinion," says Chris MacDonald, an ethicist and philosophy...

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